The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) unveiled an ad Tuesday attacking Montana Democrat Gov. and Senate Democrat candidate Steve Bullock for supporting a healthcare plan that could close rural Montana hospitals.
The NRSC criticized Bullock, who is running to unseat Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), for his support of a health insurance public option which the NRSC described as government-controlled health care. A public option would allow for a government health insurance option to compete with private health insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.
The narrator in the NRSC ad asked rhetorically, “What would this mean for Montana? It would force rural hospitals to close, threaten employer-provided health insurance, and increase payroll taxes by $2,000 on Montana workers.”
A Guidehouse study conducted in 2019 found that a public health insurance option could have dire consequences for rural hospitals across America.
The analysis found that by having millions of Americans switch from their private health insurance to the public option plan, the public option would pay hospitals at Medicare rates, which is typically lower than private insurance, and cut rural hospitals’ revenue between $4.2 billion and $25.2 billion.
The Guidehouse study found that as many as 55 percent of rural hospitals, or 1,307 hospitals, could become at risk for closure. This would impact more than 420,000 rural hospital workers.
Lauren Crawford Shaver, the executive director of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, said in 2019 that despite many Democrats’ attempts to portray the public option “as a much more moderate alternative to ‘Medicare for all,’ the truth is the public option would be also damaging, potentially putting the health and well-being of our rural communities at risk.”